Statement by the Conference of Presidents on the death of Alexei Navalny 

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On Wednesday, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President and political groups’ leaders) made the following statement on the death of Alexei Navalny.

We the leaders of the Political Groups of the European Parliament express our outrage following the murder of the 2021 Sakharov Prize laureate Alexei Navalny in a Siberian penal colony beyond the Arctic Circle serving an unjustified prison sentence. We pay tribute to his memory and express our heartfelt condolences to his wife Yulia Navalnaya and their children, his mother, family and friends, his collaborators and countless supporters in Russia.

The full responsibility for this murder lays with the Russian state and its President Vladimir Putin in particular. Truth must be told, accountability must be ensured and justice must be served. We demand that the body of Alexei Navalny be returned to his family immediately. Any further delay increases even more the responsibility of the Russian authorities for the death of Alexei Navalny. We demand an international and independent investigation into the exact circumstances of the death of Alexei Navalny.

Alexei Navalny became the embodiment of the struggle of the Russian people for freedom and democracy. His death only underscores the importance of his fight for a different Russia. Since his arrest, he had been subjected to ill-treatment, torture, arbitrary punishment and psychological pressure. Although imprisoned in inhuman conditions, Alexei Navalny tirelessly and courageously continued his fight, denouncing the corruption of the regime.

We the leaders of the Political Groups stay united in our condemnation of this crime of the Russian regime and its imperialist and neo-colonial policies. The EU and its Member States and likeminded partners around the world must continue the political, economic and military support for Ukraine. In this light we welcome the very recent 13th package of sanctions adopted by the Council.To honour the legacy of Alexei Navalny, we must stand with independent Russian civil society and the democratic opposition, continuously calling for the release of all political prisoners.

We feel encouraged by the reports about Russian citizens paying tribute to Alexei Navalny in cities and towns all over Russia. We express our hope that similar actions will continue to show that the Russian people do not support a regime that stands for draconic repression inside the country and for a brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Alexei Navalny’s life, political work and death are a testimony to the fight against apparent apathy, indifference and surrender. May it continue to encourage and inspire.